This is a blog post that I wrote months ago, but was particularly fitting for today. Hope you enjoy!
“Go ahead and put your ‘John Hancock’ on the dotted line.” We’ve all heard the saying. But where did it come from?
It was 1776 and the Declaration of Independence had just been approved by Congress. It was time to sign, but signing the document meant more than just agreeing with its content: it was an act of treason, and the penalty was death by hanging.
Would you be the first to sign your name? Would you sign your name in big, legible print?
If you look at the Declaration of Independence, one name stands out from the rest: John Hancock. Some believe that Hancock intentionally signed his name so large so that King George could read it without his spectacles. But this turns out to be just a fable (even though I love the principle).
What is accepted by all accounts, however, is that Hancock was the first to sign the document. Could you imagine what was going through his head? Do you think he faced any doubts, any “resistance“, in that moment?
Before you can confidently stamp your name on a cause and defend it with your life, you need to achieve clarity–complete understanding of what your priorities are in life and what is right and what is wrong.
Hancock didn’t just wake up and decide he was going to openly and defiantly go against the British Government. He understood the magnitude of the situation, but he also understood his own values were and proceeded anyway (despite risking death).
We may never face such severe consequences from putting our names on a document, but it’s worth pondering if we’ve achieved the clarity we need to have confidence in the crucial moments of life. Have we decided what things in life are non-negotiable?
If you want to influence others and make a difference in the world, be bold and be confident in everything you do. Sign your name in big, fancy letters for everyone to see–even if they don’t have their spectacles.